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South River Unpasteurized miso, $11:

This is another one of those things, like sprouted rice, that some crazy people like to eat so they can feel superior to other people.  Unfortunately because I have the worst skin of all time I have to worry about what I eat and after just reading yet another book about acne and nutrition, I have been inspired to eat more miso.  But the regular powdered stuff from the store is just kind of icky, and when I saw this in the refrigerated section at Green Star, I knew I had to try it.  And now I am hooked.   This stuff is beyond delicious.

This is real, fermented black soy.  Fermented soy products, like miso and tempeh, are supposed to be better for you than regular, unfermented soy.

Here is some info and health benefits (quoted from here):

“An aged, fermented soybean paste with living enzymes and friendly bacteria, miso is made by mixing cooked legumes (usually soybeans, though chickpeas, black soybeans, aduki beans, even peanuts make delectable misos) with sea salt and a cultured grain called koji (usually rice or barley). This fermenting mixture is then aged in wooden vats, sometimes for as long as three years.

“Like a fine wine, each miso has its own unique color, flavor and aroma. Miso colors range from rich chocolate browns to loamy blacks, from russets to deep ambers, clarets and cinnamon reds, from warm yellows to light tans. Flavors range from hearty and savory to sweet and delicate.

“An excellent source of digestive enzymes, friendly bacteria, essential amino acids, vitamins (including vitamin B-12), easily assimilated protein (twice as much as meat or fish and 11 times more than milk) and minerals, miso is low in calories and fat. It breaks down and discharges cholesterol, neutralizes the effects of smoking and environmental pollution, alkalinizes the blood and prevents radiation sickness. Miso has been used to treat certain types of heart disease and cancer. It helps with bed wetting, tobacco poisoning, hangovers, burns and wounds. A fine food for traveling (dry it by roasting over a low flame in skillet), miso gives warmth and life and the wisdom of age to those who consume it daily.

Warmth, life, and the wisdom of age? Yes, please.

More health benefits, from this article:

  • Reduces risks of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
  • Protection from radiation
  • Immune strengthening
  • Antiviral — miso is very alkalizing and strengthening to the immune system helping to combat a viral infection.
  • Prevents aging – high in antioxidants, miso protects from free radicals that cause signs of aging.
  • Helps maintain nutritional balance – full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, miso provides: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid and lecithin.
  • Helps preserve beautiful skin – miso contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps your skin stay soft and free of pigments

Anyway, I just drank my first cup and I am in love.  You can add this to soups for depth and richness, almost a beefy flavor (it doesn’t taste like miso when blended with other flavors; no one will ever have to know) or just mix a tablespoon or so with hot water in a mug and drink it straight.  Obsession.  Not sure to what extent it will help with the skin, but I’ll keep you all posted.

Oh, n.b., from here:  “To retain the full value of the miso and protect its living probiotics, it is very important to keep it below 118F. We recommend adding the miso to the soup just before serving. You can test the temperature with a food thermometer or simply by holding your finger in the soup for 3-5 seconds. If you are able to comfortably keep your finger in the water for that long it’s safe for the miso. When prepared carefully, this warm and nourishing miso soup remains raw , preserving the full enzyme potential and nutritional value.”

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